Skip to main content

The Islamic State: The Face of Sectarian Violence and Extremism in the Middle East


Institute For Middle East Studies

What is behind the rise of sectarianism and extremism in the region? What is the appeal of the Islamic State — a search for a new religious/cultural identity, religious zealotry, or an excuse for legitimized violence? Why has mainstream traditional Islam failed to challenge the appeal of extremist groups? How should governments, clerics and communities confront religious extremism and sectarianism?


  • Joseph Bahout is a visiting scholar in Carnegie’s Middle East Program. His research focuses on political developments in Lebanon and Syria, regional spillover from the Syrian crisis, and identity politics across the region. Previously, Bahout served as a permanent consultant for the Policy Planning Unit at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009–2014). He was a professor at Sciences Po Paris and at Université Saint-Joseph in Lebanon. Bahout is currently an associate fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, and a member of the scientific board of the Institut Français du Proche-Orient.